Save The Jokes. Don’t Quit Your Day Job.

We live in an era in which every word we utter is carefully scrutinized. This is particularly true in the workplace.

In the City’s “Guide to Disciplinary Standards,” “Using abusive language toward or making inappropriate statements to the public, supervisors, or co-workers,” is punishable by up to a 5-day suspension for a first offense.

“Making threats (verbal or non-verbal) or engaging in a confrontation with the public, supervisors, or co-workers,” is punishable on a first offense by a 6-day suspension up to discharge.

Finally, under the category of “sexual harassment,” “verbal: demonstrating insensitivity to others by making derogatory comments, epithets, teasing remarks, slurs, or questions of a sexual nature” is punishable by oral warning up to a 20-day suspension on a first offense.

I am fully aware that the first thing readers are going to say is, “My comment was innocent and was not intended to be offensive or construed as a threat.” Even in the absence of subjective, malicious intent, you may still be subject to disciplinary action by management.

Members have been suspended and even arrested for telling what they considered to be “innocent” jokes. The problem, in each instance, was not the intent of the person telling the joke, .but rather, how it was construed by the listener. In each case, the listener construed the comments not as a joke, but rather, as a threat.

The bottom line is this: At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, avoid telling jokes at work! Save your jokes for after work and tell them to your friends, neighbors, and relatives; people who can’t jeopardize your career.

Labor Rep Daryl Cherness


List of Departments Represented by Darryl Cherness

  • Aging
  • Animal Services
  • Building and Safety
  • City Clerk
  • City Controller
  • City Ethics Committee
  • Disability
  • Economic Workforce Development Division (EWDD)
  • Harbor Port of LA
  • Housing
  • Information Technology Agency (ITA)
  • Recreation & Parks
  • Department of Transportation (DOT)

Get in Contact with Labor Rep Darryl Cherness